A tryst with earthquake

On a wintry night in the small town of Duliajan, Assam as I was lying on the bed and watching my favourite TV show, the television started shaking vigorously. Unable to comprehend the sudden disturbance, I rushed towards my father who was in the adjacent room. He hugged me tightly and I felt it was the safest haven in the world. When the vibrations finally stopped after 4-5 seconds, he explained to me that, we just experienced an earthquake. It was a term which we had heard in our Geography classes but the horror experienced cannot be captured in a textbook or told in person. It must be felt!!

                                It has been eleven years since that night. The earthquake in Sikkim, last year brought back those memories though this one was a lot fiercer and mightier. Earthquakes are common in the North-East. The 1950 Assam earthquake till date remains one of the largest. As it is said, earthquakes don’t kill anyone, but buildings do.

When Mother Nature unleashes its fury, many -a-times you stand as a mute spectator of the carnage. We cannot do anything to stop it from happening. You want to go outside and it is raining. Sitting inside the house and praying for the rains to stop isn’t a very practical solution. Instead using an umbrella or a raincoat is. Similarly we can follow some basic precautions during an earthquake which can reduce the damage.  These may include moving to an open area away from buildings, trees, using stairs instead of elevators, covering the back of your head etc. Many of these are present in the internet and telecasted in the media specially when an earthquake of a relatively large magnitude (like the recent one) occurs, but still there are many who are ignorant about these. I believe these should be taught at schools so that even the young ones get a basic idea of it. Also a social awareness needs to be created among the people as to how to behave in situations like these. There have been times when more people die from the mayhem and confusion after the earthquake rather than from it .This can be done by organizing workshops especially in rural areas. People need to be made aware that we are not entirely helpless in such situations. We should do the best we can. After all GOD helps those who help themselves.

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